Today another drawing from a photo, attempting in a slightly abstract way, to capture the glow and the shadow of a bright midwestern morning.
The dynamic nature of clouds, the surface of water, and the motion of cloth along the body are fascinating. They are hard to see, hard to transcribe. Maybe that is why as I get older, abstraction in thought and in form attract me more.
Why do people make art? What are we seeking?
Maybe these almost epistemological questions are why we keep making art. We keep making visual representations of things real and imagined to figure out why we make abstractions of what we see and feel in much the same way that we keep writing about perception, society, and cosmos; biology, mathematics, and physics.
Seeking is perhaps the answer to its own question, as the oft-repeated adage: Life is a journey, not a destination.
Today more play with recession of form into space purely by changing the size of geometric forms, and using diamonds to effect the illusion of light, shadow, and reflection on choppy water.
It feels strained, too bright, yet I chose these colors on purpose.
Many times in art school teachers told me that I should try to use form and function to intentionally manipulate visual content in a drawing. But my strongest work has always had a larger dose of intuition incorporated than intentionality, instantiated by how much tension is created by the contrast between the colors and the ground in this picture.
The bright hopefulness feels right, but it is striking against the dull grey. Perhaps this is a seasonal occurrence, but lately I’ve noticed myself drawn to these bright pastels, as in my rag rug and many of these daily drawings.
I’m also noticing the theme of expanding or depleting forms such as stripes or diamonds to create distance. Maybe I’m thinking like a weaver and knitter. That the fluidity of a rectangle of cloth would add a certain kind of mind-bending flexible dynamism to these motives in the larger body of work that is emerging.
I love water. Many of my abstract drawings are various attempts at cornering the way it looks and feels. I don’t just mean the photographic sense of it, but how it makes one feel.
This drawing is a play with waves and light at sunset in autumn. Nostalgia for long afternoons with golden sunsets as now the grey and blue cold and bright winter ones wane.
Here’s a pic from last summer of Gracie surreptitiously pretending to take a bath after chasing a squirrel who dashed away too fast for him to catch. He looked up as if to say, “See, I’m just taking a bath!” Typical feline nonchalance.
Again this is that new recycled toned paper from Strathmore. I’m a big fan of paper that isn’t white, especially with pastels. It has a glow about it that doesn’t come through with white paper, and it makes you look at hue, tone, and color differently. This tan doesn’t hit you over the head, but sets a nice neutral background for achieving that glow. And as you might have guessed, I love environmentally conscious products. Although it doesn’t have as high a percentage of recycled content as some papers, it still has 30%!
This is the Instagram photo that the drawing is based on. Although I like to draw from life, I’m feeling nostalgic for warmer weather. We are still covered under several inches of snow, and though it’s pretty, it’s also wet, cold, and hazardous. Hopefully March will be kinder than February!
Today was so busy that although I could have made time for another drawing, this one makes me happy so I’ll share it with you. Also, when I went to the art store today, these recycled toned papers from Strathmore were on sale, and I’d been drooling over them, so it seems perfect to share!
An example drawing from today’s private lesson. We read the book and the kids had to teach me to draw the main character. They looked at shapes, body parts, and colors, and I asked them to describe it to me while they drew it. Although my drawing is simplified, but close to the original, theirs were much more expressive and less exact. So beautiful and charming. As students progress with Drawing and ESL, I ask them different kinds of questions to increase their visual ability and speaking aptitude.
This book, Clink, by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers, is about an old robot who feels like he isn’t as good as the bright shiny new robots who can do anything. It uses onomatopoeia to communicate the noises that he makes, and the drawings are great. Clear expressive forms that are easy to understand and identify with for students of a variety of ages. The reading level is a little too high for students who are only beginning to learn English, but the onomatopoeic sounds and bright pictures help them follow the story using other means. The story line is simple enough to break into smaller words as you explain, and the pictures give the right amount of subtext to allow children who don’t know every word to be drawn into the story.
Although I used to discount my example drawings, looking back over some of the ones I did while teaching in Madrid, there are a few gems that I’m proud to call my own. This one is a nice schematic, but some of those are really expressive.